Fair trade, social justice, ethical consumerism… words that are being flung around as the hip catch phrases of the season. It goes much deeper than a fad though. It MUST go so much deeper. Who are the little faces behind these words? At grass roots level, what does the absence of these words look like?
Here is what Compassion has to say:
According to Stop the Traffik Chairman, Steve Chalke, “Almost 50 per cent of the world’s chocolate is produced by using chocolate slaves—that’s children trapped into slavery and forced to produce cocoa beans.1”
Likewise, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) tells us that over 200,000 children work under the worst forms of child labour in the cocoa industry in the Ivory Coast alone, an estimated 12,000 of whom have been trafficked. In the worst cases, children as young as six are being forced to work 80-100 hours a week, enduring beatings and malnutrition.2 (entire article)
These heart breaking stastics are followed by this story (remember, it’s all about the 1);
Eleven-year-old Aly Diabate was lured from his home in Mali by a slave trader to work on an Ivorian farm. He was told that he would receive a bike and earn $150. Instead he worked 12-hour days, was forced to lift heavy bags full of cocoa beans and was savagely beaten. He still has the scars left from the bike chains and cocoa tree branches that the farmer used to beat him and the memories of often going without food.
Aly’s torture did not end by nightfall. He and 18 other workers had to stay in a tiny room. There was one small hole just big enough to let in some air. Aly and the others had to urinate in a can at night, because the door was locked. But he was too afraid to escape because others who had escaped were caught and brutally beaten.
However one day, a boy from the farm successfully escaped and reported the farmer to the authorities. They arrested the farmer and sent the boys back home. Now Aly is back with his parents in Mali, but the scars, both physical and psychological, still remain.3
Stories as horrendous as Aly’s make us want to do something so that children don’t have to suffer like this. There are many things you can do to help the oppressed. At Compassion we are taking action and helping children across more than 25 nations with a range of programs, but we know we can also do something else: it has been said that “Every dollar you spend is a vote”.
While we’re shopping we must not forget what the REAL cost is. When we buy the tastiest or search for the cheapest chocolate we can find, what is the real cost? It’s easy to forget the cost when it isn’t our own children who have to pay it…
I did some quick research of my own and this is what I came up with:
Stores stocking Fairtrade* Easter eggs:
Woolworths – Chocolatier brand
Coles – Chocolatier brand
Check your local delicatessans and green grocers too!
Brands producing Fairtrade Easter eggs:
Scarborough Fair – available in New Zealand only
Fairtrade chocolate blocks:
ALDI Fairtrade range – available instore
Alter Eco – available at IGA, Harris Farm and Oxfam as well as many other stores. Check stockists.
Cocolo – available at IGA as well as many other stores. Check stockists.
CURRENTLY NESTLE AND HERSHEYS ARE NOT FAIRTRADE CERTIFIED
Stop The Traffik also have some free downloadable resources useful for explaining traffiking to our children.
*Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives. Learn more about Fairtrade here.